This essay examines Qoheleth’s Catalogue of the Times poem in Eccl 3:2–8. I argue that the two most common scholarly interpretations of the poem’s overall meaning fail to sufficiently account for its literary context and that an underdeveloped alternative reading is to be preferred. When we read the poem in light of two other closely related passages, 1:4–11 and 3:9–15, it becomes clear that a poem ostensibly about “time” is much less concerned with “timing” than is typically thought, but instead signifies Qoheleth’s frustration with the inevitable equilibrating tendency embedded into every human task.
Peterson, Jesse M., "Times as Task, Not Timing: Reconsidering Qoheleth's Catalogue of the Times" (2022). Faculty Publications - George Fox School of Theology. 427.
Originally published by Brill in Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 72, No. 3 (2022), pgs. 444-473.